Fogarty director Dr. Roger Glass received the 2015 Sabin gold medal in recognition of his contributions to improving child health, including novel research on rotaviruses and noroviruses.
Photo: Mignonette Dooley Johnson
Fogarty International Center director Dr. Roger Glass has been presented with the 2015 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award by the Sabin Vaccine Institute. Glass, who is also NIH associate director for international research, was recognized for his many contributions to improving children’s health worldwide, including novel scientific research for the prevention of gastroenteritis from rotaviruses and noroviruses.
For more than three decades, Glass has pioneered research documenting the epidemiology and enormous global burden of rotavirus and has worked to prevent this disease through the development and use of vaccines. Rotavirus vaccines, including several he helped develop, are now in use in more than 70 national immunization programs, significantly reducing diarrheal hospitalizations and deaths and improving the health of millions of children worldwide.
“I am honored to have been chosen by my peers for this award, which commemorates Dr. Sabin’s extraordinary legacy,” Glass said. “When I began my career as an epidemiologist, I was struck by the devastating impact diarrhea had among so many children under 5. Today, it remains one of the most common causes of hospitalizations of children. As we work to improve child health, we must prioritize the use of rotavirus vaccines and encourage more countries to include them in their national immunization programs.”
Glass worked for more than 20 years in partnership with Drs. M.K. Bhan, Harry Greenberg, Krishna Ella and others to develop a novel rotavirus vaccine for India costing only $1 per dose, a fraction of the cost of the existing vaccines. It was licensed only in India, but a similar effort has produced a new vaccine licensed in Vietnam.
Before joining NIH, Glass held various positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh, Oxford University and the Sysin Institute in Moscow. He spent a year in the Global Program for Immunizations at the World Health Organization, where he developed a global strategy for surveillance of rotavirus hospitalizations.
He graduated from Harvard College in 1967, received a Fulbright fellowship to study at the University of Buenos Aires and then earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and his M.P.H. from Harvard School of Public Health. His Ph.D. is from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
The Sabin award recognizes a distinguished member of the public health community who has made extraordinary contributions in the field of vaccinology or a complementary field. The annual award commemorates the legacy of Sabin, who developed the oral live virus polio vaccine that is widely heralded with making a huge contribution to the near eradication of polio worldwide.